The 20 wealthiest people on Earth lost a combined $10.7 billion this week as Europe’s debt turmoil and concerns over the pace of economic growth in China and the U.S. sent stocks lower worldwide.
Amancio Ortega, the Spanish retail tycoon, saw his fortune fall by $1.38 billion as shares of his Industria de Diseno Textil SA, owner of the Zara fashion chain, tumbled 4 percent. That drove his estimated net worth down to $38 billion, which places the 76-year-old as the world’s sixth-richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“It’s hard to find any market that came through unscathed,” said Geoffrey Pazzanese, who helps manage $800 million in stocks at Federated Investors Inc. in New York. “Should they be worried about their billions? No. Maybe there are some good opportunities for them to put their money to work.”
Global markets dropped this week as the cost of insuring against a Spanish default reached a record high, U.S. consumer confidence weakened and China posted slower-than-forecast economic growth. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell by 2 percent, ending the week at 1,370.26.
Carlos Slim’s fortune declined by $1.62 billion during the week as the American depositary receipts of his telecom operator, America Movil SAB, dropped by 0.7 percent. The Mexican investor, 72, remains the wealthiest individual on the planet.
Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, 56, saw his net worth fall by $1.17 billion to end the week at $62.1 billion. He holds second place on the index. Warren Buffett, 81, is third with $44.1 billion, after losing $1.07 billion this week. While the world’s three richest people lost ground in the past week, they have gained a combined $13.3 billion in 2012.
Brazilian Eike Batista, who ranks 10th on the index, lost about $600 million after shares of his oil producer, OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA, dropped for a fourth straight week, sliding 4.4 percent. Batista, 55, has a net worth of $32.8 billion.
Sheldon Adelson, the 78-year-old chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS:US), was among the few on the index who got richer this week. He gained about $800 million as shares of his casino operator (LVS:US) climbed 3.4 percent. He trails Batista with a fortune of $27.6 billion.
Li Ka-Shing, 83, the richest person in Hong Kong and 14th in the world, lost some $300 million to $23.5 billion after shares of his property developer Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. declined by 1.9 percent.
Bernard Arnault, who controls 46 percent of luxury-goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, saw his fortune decline by about $600 million, ending the week at $41.2 billion and making the 63-year-old the world’s fifth-richest person.
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